Weaknesses of the Confederacy Government

Soldier man statue near different books in shelf.jpg

The Confederated governments in American history faced many weaknesses that included the lack of central power, the inability to react to state needs and a sustainable tax system. The Articles of Confederation established the first such government by combining the 13 original states. The Confederate States of America formed the second by bringing together some states that wanted to succeed from the Union.

1 Decentralized Power

The Confederacy concept called for the near complete decentralization of federal power. For example, a Confederacy government had the right to declare war, but it had to rely on the willingness of individual states to support that war effort. This slowed the decision-making potential of the government since it had to appeal to each state for support. For instance, the original Articles of Confederation required nine out of 13 states to agree on any central legislation. This process became too time consuming.

2 State Indifference

Confederated governments provided no impetus for individual states to be concerned with issues specific to other states. While centralized issues helped hold Confederated states to a singular motivation, other concerns went unaddressed. After the Articles of Confederation, individual states ran into complications when they tried to access help from other states or from the weakened central government. The Confederated government style could not force individual states to help other states.

3 Currency

The innate instability of a Confederated government reduced foreign faith in the value of the nation’s printed money and weakened the nation’s ability to trade for foreign goods. Additionally, when the Confederated government ceased its unification, the printed money no longer had any real value. This was the case in the South in the later years of the Civil War. Not only was the Confederate money devalued, the citizens were faced with massive inflation. When the war ended, Confederate money was utterly worthless.

4 Taxes

States had the primary right to tax its citizens within a Confederate government, but the central government did not. That left the central government unable to generate its own operating funds, and weakened its ability to react to either state demands or central issues. After the signing of the original Articles of Confederation, the central government had no right to tax its people. That left it without any mode of social influence according to the website Constitution Facts.

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.